Quality Matters: No Justification to Charge Toll on Poor Roads says, Nitin Gadkari

Quality Matters: No Justification to Charge Toll on Poor Roads says, Nitin Gadkari

Quality Matters: No Justification to Charge Toll on Poor Roads says, Nitin Gadkari

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NHAI’s progressive tolling system evolution, led by minister Gadkari’s vision for quality services, aims to enhance highway user experience.

June 26, 2024

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari recently emphasized the importance of providing quality road services to justify toll collection. Speaking at a global workshop on satellite-based tolling, Gadkari expressed strong views against charging tolls on roads that are in disrepair and cause inconvenience to commuters. He stated that there is no justification for highway agencies to charge tolls if the roads are not in good condition and continue to cause problems. Gadkari highlighted the backlash faced by political leaders due to public grievances about poor road conditions and stressed that tolls should only be collected where the best quality roads are provided.

Acknowledging the frustrations of highway commuters, Gadkari underscored the need for sensitivity among NH (National Highway) field officers towards the long waits at toll plazas. He emphasized the importance of establishing effective grievance mechanisms for the quick resolution of issues. Despite the mandatory use of FASTag for seamless travel through toll lanes since 2021, numerous reports of queues at toll plazas have surfaced. In response, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is working on the rollout and expansion of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based toll collection to eventually eliminate toll gates on NH networks. This system aims to improve efficiency and user experience, starting with dedicated lanes for commercial vehicles.

The government plans a phased rollout of GNSS-based tolling, initially targeting commercial vehicles and later including private vehicles. Amendments in Central Motor Vehicle Rules and NH Fee Rules are underway to facilitate this transition, offering incentives for compliance and disincentives for non-compliance. Gadkari projected that GNSS-based toll collection could add Rs 10,000 crore to government toll revenue. He emphasized the need for a transparent, qualitative, and leak-proof system to ensure minimal inconvenience to toll users, thereby reducing logistics costs and enhancing overall efficiency.

In conclusion, Gadkari’s push for improved road services and efficient toll collection systems reflects his commitment to enhancing the highway user experience and ensuring taxpayer money is effectively utilized for infrastructure development. His proactive stance underscores the government’s efforts to modernize India’s toll collection mechanisms for better service delivery.